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July 12, 2016

AP Headline on Israeli Law Breaks Journalistic Rule

On a controversial new Israeli law to increase regulation of Israeli non-profit organizations which receive more than half of their funding from foreign states, an Associated Press headline violates the journalistic imperative to maintain impartiality. "Israel passes law targeting human rights organizations," is the AP news headline, mirroring the position of the law's critics.

ap targeting human rights.JPG

The Associated Press is a leading wire service, and the tendentious headline was republished on top news sites including The Wall Street Journal, ABC News and Fox News.

This partial headline is coming down on one side of a controversial issue (the law's critics.)

As the article itself states: "Opponents of the law argued that the Netanyahu government was trying to target liberal human rights organizations that are critical of Israel's policies toward the Palestinians."

On the other side of the debate, as AP's Daniella Cheslow reports:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly supported the legislation, saying there is nothing anti-democratic about requiring transparency so the public is aware of the role of foreign governments in funding these groups.

A headline reflecting the law's supporters views might have said:

Israel passes law aimed at greater transparency for Israeli NGOs funded by foreign states.

Agence France Presse, another leading international wire service, opted for the neutral, descriptive and accurate headline: "Israel approves contentious NGO foreign funding law."

Reuters' headline also maintains greater objectivity, stating: "Israel NGO bill, seen as targeting left-wing groups, becomes law." (Emphasis added on the critical qualifying words.)

Reuters law seen as targeting.JPG

Hat tip: Eugene Kontorovich

Posted by TS at July 12, 2016 07:17 AM


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